• Estate Planning Services:

    Protect your family and your assets. Create a plan to ensure your wishes are carried out and assets are transferred the way you choose.

    • Unique plans for Blended Families and New Parents
    • Prepare the key documents to protect your family and your assets
    • Create a succession plan
    Slider – Estate Planning
  • Build a Foundation You Can Trust

    Protecting life’s greatest assets – your family and your business. We can help build a solid foundation to protect those assets for generations to come.

    Slider – Build a Foundation You Can Trust
  • Small Business Services:

    Who will run your business when you can’t? Let us help you get your business up and running and create a plan to ensure your business continues even when you’re gone.

    • Choose the proper business entity
    • Prepare key documents
    • Create a succession plan
    Slider – Small Business Services
  • Legacy Planning

    You’re protecting your assets and getting organized. You’re handling work and your home life. But, what’s next?

    • Create a life you love with our help
    • Live a more fulfilled life
    • Leave a legacy that will make your children proud
    Slider – Legacy Planning

Doing it all can be exhausting!

womanalone

Hey There! 

Never feel like there are enough hours in a day to get EVERYTHING done?! So much on that never ending to-do list….

I’ve been there. I can totally relate.

Working all day. Taking care of the kids. Making sure the house isn’t a ​TOTAL ​mess.

Wanting a little more sleep. A little more “me” time.

The truth is though, if we don’t take the time for a little self-care, we can’t be the best at our career, the best mom, the best friend, sister, daughter. Catch my drift?

Nope. We can’t.

We become Little Miss Cranky Pants.

So, this week I am proposing a little challenge. Are you ready?

Take 15 minutes out of your day (yes, everyday) to focus on YOU! Say yes to what YOU want without feeling guilty.

If it’s YES to an extra glass of wine, do it!

If it’s YES to creating that budget (or ::cough cough:: starting your estate plan), DO IT!

This is the week of SAYING YES TO YOURSELF!

Just know that these 15 minutes for the next 7 days will be absolutely life changing. I PROMISE.

I really want to keep you accountable, so go ahead and rtag me on Facebook or Instagram to let me know what you’re doing everyday.

And, because I know staying on track can be tough, I’m going to do it too- so be sure to follow me online to see what I’m saying YES to!

xo

Carmen

P.S. Happy 4th of July! Don’t forget to join me on Thursday July 7th for tips on legacy planning and how you can check items off your bucket list! 

It Could Happen In an Instant…..

ExpectTheUnexpected

Hey There! 

I recently wrote an article called “10 Things Every Estate Planning Attorney Wants You to Know About Death and Dying” and I wasquoted in Forbes last week. Check out the posthere by a colleague of mine, Jeena Cho.

Feel free to share, share, share! It’s definitely tweet worthy!

Anyhow, one part of the article really hit home today as I sat in Probate court- that’s being prepared “just in case.”

There was a little girl in court, about 5-6 years old. Now, typically a little one isn’t allowed in court, but because her father passed away without a will, trust or guardianship provisions, that little girl was sitting in court with the rest of us.

It was gut wrenching sitting there as the attorney spoke about her deceased father. How there was a wrongful death suit, discussion regarding wages and how the money was hopefully going to be enough to support the child. There were questions about whether a guardianship of the estate was needed. Talk about how her mother was considered a third party because her parents weren’t married.

Just imagine your child. Your grandchild. Having to sit in court and listen to so many strangers talk about their parent. Someone they will never get to see again. Having to listen in confusion as decisions are made about their life.

Lucky for this little girl, her mother is still alive and present. Unfortunately issues came up because the couple was not married. The mother was able to be the guardian of the estate in order to care for her daughter, but it was a reminder, that at any point someone can pass away. No warning. Just a regular day.

We live our day to day lives.

Postponing that phone call or email to a loved one.

Postponing drafting an estate plan.

Postponing taking that trip or starting that hobby.

Postponing signing up for life insurance or updating beneficiaries.

But in an instant it can all change.

Will you be ready?

Estate Planning + NBA Finals = Perfect Match

MVP

You are the real MVP! Go out and live your legacy!

Hey there! 

I was watching Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Friday night and listening to all the players getting interviewed. It got me thinking.

Thinking about life.

Thinking about showing up.

Thinking about “letting the game come to you.”

That game, of course, being life.

The key to the game and getting to the end, is to enjoy the process. We are all going to die. No one is getting a free pass. So, why not make the most of your life? Why not do what you’ve always wanted?

Go out and find the game’s rhythm. Your rhythm. Live your legacy. Say yes to life. Take a risk.

But also show your team you’re reliable- someone they can count on. Be someone your family can count on. Create an estate plan that will be beneficial to your family. Let them know they can count on you even if you’re not around.

By planning and living a life you love, you create lasting memories for your friends and family. You’ll be protecting both their heart and their mind.

So, go out and be the Steph Curry of your life, because you are the real MVP!

xo

Carmen

P.S. Go Dubs!

Summer is coming + my 3 part series on estate planning

Hey There! 

Are you as excited about summer as I am!?! I can’t wait for beach days, floppy hats and bermuda shorts! Ice cold lemonade and barbecues with loved ones.Summer vacation….:sigh:

And, back to reality…..and my office (for now).

This weeks newsletter is about something fun I’ve been doing. I wanted to let you know about a 3 part series I’ve been running on Facebook LIVE this week called “WTF……..” It’s a series to help answer questions about estate planning, probate and its a way to make talking about death less taboo.

In this series I focus on explaining what important documents you’ll need and how they can keep you out of probate.

BUT my real hope is…… that more people will start to think about estate planning.

Estate planning isn’t all about you- its really about your loved ones. The people you leave behind and the legacy you’ll be living.

That’s why TOMORROW 6/9 at 9am pst in Part 3 of this series, I’ll be talking about how to not be afraid….

Not be afraid to talk about death.

Not be afraid to take risks.

Not be afraid to shy from what it it you think you “should” be doing.

I’m going to talk to you about how we need to start living more- each and every one of us!

I really hope you’ll join me! And in case you missed Part 1 and Part 2, I’ve included the videos at the bottom of this email.

If you want me to answer a question while we’re live tomorrow all you have to do is reply to this email or send me a Facebook message.

Bonus: If you know someone who could benefit from these informational videos, please SHARE! Sharing is caring!

xo

Carmen

P.S. I love mail! Have burning questions? Want to discuss something in I put in the Newsletter? Hit reply and let me know what’s on your mind!


Part 1 was about estate planning and all the different documents that can make up an estate plan. You can take a look at it below


Part 2 I did this morning on Probate and how that whole process works. In case you missed it, here you go

What’s the ROI of You?!


Hey There! 

Is it just me, or does there really need to be a day in between Saturday and Sunday?! The weekend always seems a little too short.

This past Friday I went to something called an “unconference”- no agenda, no set speakers. The attendees were all in charge of creating what was discussed. Oh, and did I also mention it was made up of 80 women lawyers?! Dope, right?

It was amazing and motivating to see so many individuals dealing with similar issues- work/life balance, being a perfect mom and being a great employee/er, wanting career growth, etc. Absolutely EMPOWERING and I made some really awesome new friends!

Obviously, it got me thinking about you and how much energy you spend on things you can change but don’t. Double standards, pay inequality, and lack of women in certain careers are all issues that are being addressed within society…..slowly but surely. But your personal issues and concerns- well those you can deal with head on and RIGHT NOW.

As your business and your family grow, it’s important to make sure you take some time to step back and re-evalute how you’re spending your time. Where are you investing your energy and whats the return on investment (ROI) of that energy?

Not only is caring for the kiddos, the house and the business important, but so is self-care. You don’t want to burn out. So, take steps to tackle things that have been lingering and taking up too much of your energy.

Whether its creating your estate plan, incorporating a new business, or deciding how your business will run when you’re gone- you have items on your mind that could have been checked off a loooooong time ago. Let’s be honest, if you would stop being afraid of the uncertainty and stop procrastinating, you could deal with some of the energy-suckers.

Stop spending your time on the “WHAT-IFs” and put some plans in place so you can spend more time snuggling with those babies and building your squad.

Moral of this story: Stop with the excuses already! Invest in yourself, your business, and your family. Meet new people. Get out of your comfort zone.

And I can promise you that the ROI on getting your ducks in a row and taking care of yourself outweighs the stress, time and financial impact of dealing with the clean up after a storm.

So, cheers to new beginnings- a new week and new month- and to getting sh!t done!

xo

Carmen

P.S. There’s still time! Have burning questions? Want us to discuss something in our Newsletter? Send us an email and let us know what’s on your mind!

 

Unsubscribe | 303 Twin Dolphin Drive, Suite 600, Redwood City, CA 94065

Entity, Shmentity….What’s the big deal?!


Hey Sunshine! 

We have been getting A TON of business questions lately and since we not only protect your family/kiddos we figured what better time than now to chat about your business?

So, what the hell is “entity formation” anyways?

Welp it’s one of those boring legal/business words we like to use to describe the type of business you’re running.

There are three {main} types- Sole Proprietor, LLC and Corporation

Now this is when you say to yourself “Why do I care? My business if running fine just the way it is.”

And chances are if you don’t really know what an LLC or a Corporation are, you’re probably a sole proprietor. This could be costing you big time at tax time and could be putting your family’s hard work at risk. Just saying.

Let me help you out and break down the deets for you.


Sole Proprietor = You = Your Business

When you die, your business dies. You ARE your business. Literally. It’s you, your name, and whatever you’re selling. There’s no relationship with the state. You don’t have any special business tax ID because you use your social security number. You don’t have to file special taxes because you do what you’ve been doing all along and just file your personal taxes (and add on a Schedule C, of course).

That’s pretty awesome right?!

Well, guess what- being a sole proprietor has absolutely no liability protection. So your business debts are your debts. Owners are UNLIMITEDLY Liable.

Scary, huh! {See I told you you’d want to know about this!}

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

 

A LLC will give you the protection that a sole proprietorship doesn’t but you MUST have separate bank accounts for your business and personal funds. You’ll also have a franchise tax payment of $800 EVERY year no matter what (in California anyways). And you’ll also have to prepare some documents for the State.

In terms of taxation, you get taxed like a sole proprietorship, LLC or S-corp- you get to pick. It’s a buffet of entity selections.

This one’s good for limited paperwork but good liability protection.

Corporation

 

Last but definitely not least, is the Corporation. It’s one of the oldest and most “prestigious” entities- probably because it offers the most protection and flexibility. Buuut along with that comes a lot more formalities.

A corporation whether it’s an S-corp or a C-corp requires the most paperwork of all. It also requires annual meetings, a Board of Directors, minutes of the meetings and Officers. The good news is this Board and Officers can all be ONE person.

So form a Corp and have a meeting with yourself. Why not?

And you want know the difference between and S-Corp and C-corp? An S-Corp has an additional form to complete but the biggest difference comes into play at tax time.

Be sure to talk to your tax guy/gal to make sure you’re saving as much moolah as possible!


Well that’s it peeps. Hopefully you didn’t get too bored {yawn}. I know this isn’t the most glamorous topic and it can be a little scary, but it needs to be discussed. This will be key in protecting your business ASSets and ultimately whatever you leave behind to pass on via your estate.

But you know that’s what we’re here for! We handle the boring legal stuff to protect what you love the most and give you peace of mind so you can continue being the badass we know you are!

Have a great rest of the week!

 xoxo

Carmen

P.S. We will be moving our weekly posts to MONDAYS! We can all use a little Monday motivation.

P.P.S. Have burning questions? Want us to discuss something in our Newsletter? Simply respond and let us know!

 

Are you afraid of success?


Hey Sunshine! 

Happy Hump Day! Did you miss us last week? It was spring break for the teenager so we got a little behind, but we are back in action!

This week’s post is about being afraid of success. Yup. Success!

It’s common for people to say “I’m so afraid of failure.” But guess what?! People are scared of success too. Why?! Because by being successful- whether in your business or getting your ducks in a row personally- it means there is a next step to take.

If you’re not ready to take the next step, ask yourself why!

In relation to your business:

Is it because you don’t know how you’ll manage the growth of your business? 

Is it because you think there is not enough business? 

In relation to creating an estate plan:

Is it because you really don’t want to talk about dying and not being around for your kiddos?

Is it because you think it’s too expensive? 

Is it because you think you don’t have time? 

What all of this really comes down to is a shift in thinking! Don’t be afraid of success!  There is always enough business.There is an abundance of opportunities. By talking about the hard stuff now, you protect your loved ones for the future. Wouldn’t you rather plan ahead for an emergency than be a deer in headlights?

Stop dawdling! Get to it. By checking off “growing my business” and “do estate plan” from you to-do list, you open yourself up to lots of other opportunities to bring you more wealth, more time, and most of all PEACE OF MIND!


Don’t let fear get in the way of living a life you love!


Want to get started? Call the office or shoot me a note and we can figure out how to best meet your needs. Need an update to your plan? We, can help too!

 

xoxo

Carmen

P.S. Stay tuned for some really cool events we have coming up beginning in June! :)

Estate Planning = A Woman’s Issue


Hello Sunshine! 

Why is estate planning be considered a “woman’s issue”, you ask?

Well, because the truth of the matter is women outlive men. Yup. In fact women are three times more likely than men to be widowed by the age of 65.

So, for women, estate planning is a crucial planning tool. Since they usually survive their spouses, women more often have the last word about how much wealth goes to family, charity or the taxman.

And, for those single or unmarried women, if you have no documents in place, your partner will not get anything per the laws of intestate succession (also known as probate). You will want to make sure you have basic documents to ensure your partner is provided for (if that’s what you want of course..)

How about those divorced with a second marriage? Make sure your kids aren’t disinherited by your new spouse. And you’ll want to make sure your ex is no longer listed on your beneficiary designations- or he will get a pretty penny from your life insurance or retirement account.

Remember- estate planning isn’t for the rich- it’s for EVERYONE. Yes, really. An estate is essentially your “stuff” and if you don’t care who it goes to, then don’t create a plan. Or if you don’t care about who will make health and financial decisions for you when you’re unable to, then don’t create a plan. Catch my drift?


Estate Planning is YOUR issue!


Want to get started? Call the office or shoot me a note and we can figure out how to best meet your needs. Need an update to your plan? We, can help too!

 

xo,

Carmen

 

 

Happy Earth Day!

Earth Day 2016Hey there mama!

What does Estate Planning have to do with Earth Day you ask? Well, lemme tell you!

If you’re an “environmentalist” or you “go green”, you can choose to donate a portion of your estate to a charity that supports your same beliefs.

 This allows you’re legacy to continue on via a charity you love. The charity will thank you and so will Mother Nature :)

P.S. We go green by providing digital copies of your estate plans instead of numerous paper copies!

What a living trust DOES NOT do for you

Chaos Planning

There are so many benefits of a revocable living trust that people sometimes think it will do everything they want. As you know by now, one of the biggest benefits of a revocable living trust is avoiding probate. Here are four things a living trust DOES NOT do.

  1. It does not control medical decisions. A living trust is not the same as a living will. Although the names are similar and they are both legal documents, they do very different things. A living trust lets you keep control of your assets. A living will lets you keep some control over medical decisions, but it is very limited—it only lets others know how you feel about life support in case of terminal illness. A better document is a health care power of attorney (also called an advance directive or health care proxy). This lets you give legal authorityto another person to make all health care decisions for you if you are unable to do so.
  2. It does not protect your assets from creditors while you are living. Because a living trust is revocable (meaning you can change or cancel it), you still have control of your assets and have access to them at all times. Even the IRS considers a revocable living trust to be a “non-event” because you can put assets in and take them out at any time. If you still have access to your assets, so do your creditors. However, after you die, assets that remain in your trust for your beneficiaries are protected from their creditors, including divorce proceedings. If you are concerned about asset protection, talk to your attorney as soon as possible about your options.
  3. It does not help you qualify for Medicaid (or other government medical assistance). Medicaid is a federally funded health care program that was created primarily to provide health care services for the poor. It also pays for an unlimited number of days of nursing home care, which makes it appealing to some people who are not poor. To qualify for Medicaid, you can only have a limited amount of assets and receive a certain amount of income. Some people think putting their assets into a revocable living trust will help them qualify for Medicaid because the assets are no longer titled in their individual names. But because a living trust is revocable, you still have control of your assets and have access to them. As a result, assets in your living trust are “available” and counted if you apply for Medicaid—so transferring your assets to a living trust will not help you qualify for Medicaid. If you are interested in qualifying for Medicaid, talk to an attorney who specializes in elder law and Medicaid matters.
  4. It has no effect on your income taxes. You must still report any income you earn each year and pay any taxes due on that income. As long as you are living, you continue to use your own social security number and file the same income tax returns. (A separate tax identification number and separate tax return for your trust are required only after you die.) Some irrevocable trusts may be able to save income taxes. If you are interested in this, talk to your estate planning attorney.

“A Good Plan Today is better than a Perfect Plan Tomorrow” 
- George Patton

Annoying (but Required) Disclaimer: This blog is a resource guide for educational and informational purposes only and should not take the place of hiring an attorney. No information on this blog creates an attorney-client relationship between us. If you would like to hire an attorney, you can give us a call at (650) 503-3770.